Neala, Lincoln, Jack & Emmy,
Last week your father came home from work and told me to leave. He said he’d take care of all of you so I could have the night off.
There were several places I could have gone. Part of me wanted to go shoe shopping. The practical side of me said I should run errands and pick up the sealant for our leaky gutter.The selfish part of me wanted to go eat a hot dinner alone in a restaurant.
But none of those things would do. I wanted to talk to my daddy. So I drove to the small cemetery on the west side where he is buried.
Something about being at the gravesite does something good for my heart. It may sound strange, but I feel like I can talk out loud to him there.
So I did.
A quality I always admired in my daddy was that he was always willing to listen to me. Just knowing he would listen often made things seem better.
That night I sat on his gravesite and told him everything.
I told him what a big girl Neala is. Potty trained and sharper than a tack. Witty and helpful and most days refuses to have her hair done or even brushed.
I told him about Lincoln walking and following Neala around the house. Link reminds me so much of him. Laid back, funny and liked by everyone.
Of course I talked to him about the twins and how much work they are. Oh, how he would’ve loved holding you.
When I was little, we had rabbits for pets. Daddy always had a soft spot for the runt in the litter, so I think he would have favored teeny tiny Emmy. He would’ve loved her sassy attitude and spunk. Which is not so teeny or tiny.
But don’t feel left out Jack. PawPaw would have taken advantage of your chill personality. He would have put random items on your head and taken pictures. Handkerchiefs, small pots, a pair of pants. Anything but a hat.
Sitting there in the quietness, I brushed away the old grass collecting on his name and told him about all the recent changes in my life.
I told him about our “new” 1980’s house and if he were here, he could help me with my extra long list of projects. He could help me paint the porch or pull out the hideous bushes.
Then I told him about our new minivan we were forced to buy because we needed something all the kiddos would fit in. I told him how I cried at the salesman’s desk because it was the first time I bought a car without my dad.
When I was done talking I just cried.
Until all the mascara dripped off my lashes and my ankles had a thousand mosquito bites.
On the drive home I reminded myself how happy he is right now. Care free and cancer free. He wouldn’t want me to stay in this sad funk. He wouldn’t want me to cry all night.
There are moments in my life I feel overwhelmed. Balancing all my roles and trying to raise all of you can exhaust me.
Plus, I miss my daddy horribly. Some days my heart literally aches to hug him. See him. Talk to him.
When this happens, there are several places I can go emotionally.
It would be easy to fall into sadness or anger.
But none of those will do. Instead, I go to talk to God. My heavenly father.
I quiet my soul and talk to him in the same way I talk at my daddy’s grave.
My earthly dad can’t be here to listen to me or offer comfort.
But God can. And does.
“You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.”
My eyes were swollen and felt heavy as I pulled into our driveway.
But my heart felt lighter.
When you face moments of exhaustion, overwhelming grief or disappointment I hope you learn something from reading my letters and more importantly watching my life. I hope you learn to talk to God.
He is always ready to listen.